[Extra-Special Note from Jodi: I just found out that Pistols + Popcorn is a 2009 Bloggie Finalist. Let me just be honest. I’d love to win. I’d really really think that was super awesome. Another thing that’s cool? Fat Cyclist is nominatated also (again). So please click here and vote for us in our respective categories. Pistols + Popcorn: Best-Kept Secret Weblog, and Fat Cyclist: Best Sports Weblog. I know, the sideways scroll. Think of it as a new skill…]
(Lego Creation by Andrew Lipson)
Anson and I were walking down this long, steep stairwell into the subway not too long ago. Directly in front of us was the all-too-familiar sight of a smallish woman carrying a baby in a largish stroller down this flight of stairs. Anson of course did what he always does, and tapped her on the shoulder asking if he could get it for her? The woman didn’t have time to answer before the man in front of her turned around and said that no, Anson in fact couldn’t help her with it. I got my big eyes on with the raised eyebrows and a “what the….” coming out of my mouth when the woman explained, “I’m practicing”.
Except that didn’t make sense so my “what the….” turned into, “eh….huh?” Her awesomely gallant man-friend explained that “Well, I can’t always be with her, so she’s got to learn to get around the city without me”.
So there she was, small woman carrying big stroller. “Practicing” by teetering with baby-bait intact down a perilously steep and long staircase being judged by her coach, while turning down offers of assistance. This practice seriously gets the thumbs-down from me.
I get what they were going for but here’s the deal, from one New York mother familiar with strollers on subways and the way those two things get tricky. My secret? Use your fellow New Yorkers. There are millions of us all around you. I have never never been at the base or top of a staircase with a stroller in New York without being approached by someone offering to help. It’s the code. We’re nasty to each other about getting the seat on the subway, but we will always give an assist in the mother/stroller vs. staircase scenario. And guess what citizens? It’s ok to accept that help. Because your stroller is unwieldy, your baby is heavy, and put together it is not a good idea to try and schlep them up or down a flight of stairs. It’s even dangerous for the rest of us. Also: bad for your back. So just say, “Yes”, and then say “Thank you” and we New York helpers will be on our way.
Besides, in turning the help down, you cause people like my husband serious psychological distress when you put yourselves and your babies at risk. Anson was a mess watching this poor woman go on her own and we even observed another woman offering to help, who then turned away with the big eyes, the raised eyebrows and a “what the….”
People, it’s good to accept help from one another. The helper feels benevolent; the recipient of help doesn’t end up accidentally tumbling their child down a staircase. That’s what we in the blogging world call a “Win-Win”.